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Racetrack Benchmark

This was a great hike I'd recommend to anyone. Not too hard to get to the trailhead and great views all around. According to my guide, it was supposed to be about 6 miles roundtrip, but I finished in 2 hours, including summit wandering and cheeseburger consumption, so it must have been shorter than that. To get to the trailhead, I took a left on Co-op Creek Road (FR 082) about 1.3 miles east of the Strawberry Reservoir entrance and the Forest Service information booth on Highway 40. This is a pretty good gravel road, which I drove for about 7 miles up into the hills. Around a bend, there was a turnoff for FR 245, but it was clear that my Honda would not be suitable for that road.  So I parked on the side of the road and hiked, which is kind of the point anyway. You could take an ATV literally practically all the way to the summit, and there may be some people who do that, but they weren't around this morning.

About a mile up the road, which was steadily uphill through aspens with occasional panoramic views, I spotted 3 dogs in the road ahead of me. It seemed a bit strange to have 3 unattended dogs out like that early in the morning, but the mystery was resolved when I realized that they were actually bears. As soon as they saw me, all 3 instantly climbed trees next to the road. They accomplished this so quickly that I can now definatively confirm that climbing a tree is not a good way get away from a bear.  Two of them were clearly cubs, and the 3rd was a bit bigger, but no so much bigger that I was sure it was the mom. So, this made me more than a little nervous and certainly convinced me that it was not a good idea to get close enough to document this encounter with my crappy cell phone camera. I gave them a wide berth by stumbling through the forest on the other side of the road, keeping my eyes out for a larger version, which did not materialize.

There wasn't really a clear trail to the completely treeless summit from where I was approaching, but I managed to stumble up the steep slopes without losing my footing. The cairn on the top has a register, which was started in 2009. It is not particularly close to the benchmark.

I did enjoy my day old McDonalds cheeseburger, despite the scowl on my face in this picture. The look of frustration comes from having trouble figuring out how to take my own picture, while trying to get the view of Strawberry Reservoir in the frame.  Which I failed to accomplish.

I will say that the summit is very nice, but not to be gross, it does appear to be largely made up of animal droppings. All different sizes, shapes and ages of animal droppings. I could have used one of those field guides to scat. I have no idea where all of this comes from, as I only caught a brief glimpse of a single deer or mountain goat staring at me from a distance at one point. Maybe late at night, the summit is wall to wall with various rodents, deer, mountain goats and bears, all partying and relieving themselves.

The trip back was uneventful. I did keep my eyes peeled for more bears, but none were sighted. On the way back to Heber I stopped at the Forest Service station and picked up a bunch of maps, in the hopes that this would enhance my navigational skills on future jaunts.

Mount Zion. Ironwood, MI

There's nothing quite like a quickie in the Upper Peninsula.  

Two mintues up, 2 mintues down.  Delicious in between.  

Mount Nemo

<!--[if gte mso 9]> 0 0 0 <![endif]--><!--StartFragment--> This second of the two peaks near Milton, Ontario is more well known to the locals, so it is justified as a legitimate peak.  

Again, this is part of the Bruce Trail and again it goes to a high point along the Niagara Escarpment, hallmarked by green moss covered rocks and deep crevices.  The Niagara Escarpment goes all the way from New York through Ontario to Michigan and Wisconsin. 

The summit, Mount Nemo, was marked with a very old metal post, but in contrast to the American USGS markers, there were no markings on this post.  Another gourmet cheeseburger fest overlooking fields of corn and cows.

Ontario Summits

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While visiting my Mom and sister in Milton, Ontario near Toronto, I thought I should conquer at least one Cheeseburger summit.  It seems that the Summitcheeseburger list of summits in Canada doesn’t include some of the more obvious summits as seen by the locals.  But there are two summits near Milton that are listed on the Summitcheeseburger website and were doable in a morning, so off we set—my sister Tam (Canadian Cheddar), her dog, Zeeka (Igetthewholething,really?), and I.

This “peak” is accessed from Twiss Road and is just off the Bruce Trail, which is a through trail from southern Ontario to northern Ontario.  We had to bushwack a bit, but got to the top of the escarpment, part of the famous Niagara Escarpment, that looked like the highest point around, and seemed to be in the correct place on the map.  A wonderful breakfast of gourmet cheeseburgers with all the fixin’s including fresh baked buns for me, Canadian Cheddar and Igetthewholething,really?. 

On the way back down we encountered a beautiful frog.  I was tempted to give it a kiss to see if a handsome prince would appear, but no…<!--EndFragment-->

Bald Knoll

Having failed in my search for Red Creek Mountain, I decided to try for Bald Knoll.  However, the recurring pattern of my getting lost continued.  I never found the trailhead identified in my guide, and none of the local residents was the least bit helpful.  This individual was completely unresponsive.  In fact, he/she was barely willing to stop grazing long enough to move out of the road.

Eventually, I did find a place to park near what appeared to be some sort of summit with a mysterious structure on top, and I figured why not give it a shot.  What's the worst that could happen?  So I set off down another overgrown road which seemed to be heading in the right direction, and this soon transitioned from a level stroll into a rather steep ascent.  I am totally mystified what vehicle could actually drive up a track this steep, but since I was walking, that's not really my problem.  As I came over the top, I was confronted with this subtle clue that I had, in fact, successfully located Bald Knoll.

So, following the consumption of my last cheeseburger, I noted the clouding skies and decided it was time to get out of Dodge. The road continued over the summit and went down the other side of the knoll, but I scrambled down the way I came and made it back to my car in time to get off of the dirt roads before the rain turned them to mud.  

Further adventures on Forest Service Road 54 - Currant Creek Peak

Once again I set off into the beautiful Uinta area accessible off of Forest Service Road 054 to Mill Hollow.  And once again, I quickly became befuddled by the less than comprehensively signed network of dirt and gravel roads crisscrossing the area.  Despite my confusion, I miraculously found the trailhead for Currant Creek Peak just before giving up, parked in a vacant campsite area and set off down an overgrown road.  The route to the summit was less than obvious, but the location of the actual peak was clear, since there is a communications structure on the top.  

This hike started off a little bit like a cattle drive, as a small herd of cows was ahead of me on the road at first.  

Fortunately, the cows did not follow me all the way to the summit, which was kind of a relief since it could have been a bit akward when I got to the cheeseburger consumption.  The hike involved a fair amount of just trudging through the vegetation in an effort to go upward.  But it worked out just fine, and it didn't take that long to get to the summit, with an excellent view.

From here I went off in search of Red Creek Mountain.  At one point I thought I had found the summit with this enormous pile of stones, but alas, this was not it.  Apparently, someone felt it would just be useful to make this big pile in the middle of nowwhere.    

I eventually gave up on Red Creek Mountain, but after getting home and consulting Google satellite imagery in more detail I now realize that I probably just didn't drive far enough.  Another day, maybe after I get a better map (or learn how to read the ones I have already).

Mt. Timpanogos

Unlike Soontohaveastroke, my latest summit is not a FA.  Its more like AT (about time!).  ALL my friends have cheeseburgered Timp and I finally figured I was in shape enough to make it to top during Sierra's Annual Timp Hike 2013.  Accompanied by Sierra, Call-me-anything-but-early and a few other Cheeseburger Summiteers I made it to the top.  And I wasnt alone. Boo-burger also gets credit for this summit as well.  

Moving on to Duchense Ridge (Mill Benchmark)

The next stop on this Sunday morning trek was a quick drive from Heber Mountain to what the guide referred to as Duchesne Ridge.  The official name appears to be Mill  Benchmark, which is one of 3 Mill Benchmarks in Utah.  This was relatively easy to find, although I did have to walk through the underbrush for maybe 100 yards to find the benchmark and eat the next cheeseburger. 

It turns out that my brief stroll resulted in my becoming covered with thistles.  Picking them off of my socks and tossing them out the window was a good way to entertain myself as I drove along the road in search of the next summit. 

Although it was not on my map, there did appear to be another summit very close, with some sort of communications structure on the top.  Despite my past bad experience with pursuing summits in official locations (see posting for Mount Saint Alban) I climbed up a side road to look for a benchmark.  None could be found but  I ate a cheeseburger just in case, all the while keeping vigilant for any signs that I might be cooking from microwaves.  Later research with Google Maps satellite imagery identified this as labelled Duchense Ridge, but it is not an official summit.    

    

From here I took off down the road in search of Wolf Creek Peak, armed with multiple maps and aerial photographs.  Wolf Creek Peak is not to be confused with Wolf Creek Summit, which has been previously cheeseburgered, and not to be disrespectful, by someone even lazier than me, as this is basically a sign on Highway 35.  However, not only could I not find the route to Wolf Creek Peak, but as I drove aimlessly on various dirt roads I began to have serious doubts about finding my way back to Highway 35.  Note to the Forest Service -- a few more signs would be helpful here.  Eventually, I did manage to get to Wolf Creek Campground next to the highway, but without successfully making it to the peak.  And, even more frustrating, I did not realize the campground is actually located at Wolf Creek Summit, so I could have eaten my 4rth cheeseburger there instead of taking it home and putting it in the freezer (in case of emergency).  So, Wolf Creek Peak remains for another day.  

Lost on Heber Mountain

Building on my new enthusiasm for the Uintas, I decided to try and bag 3 as yet uncheeseburgered summits in one Sunday morning. So armed with detailed instructions from http://www.willhiteweb.com/heber_city/heber_mountain/duchesne_228.htm and 4 cheeseburgers – one extra just in case – I made a complex plan and set off enthusiastically despite threats of afternoon thunderstorms. These summits looked to be easy pickings and my only worry was how I would have the appetite to eat a cheeseburger so early in the morning. Ha ha.  If my life had a soundtrack, this is where you would insert ominous music like they play when a young girl is about to go down into the basement in a horror film. Heber Mountain was the first summit on my list. The guide said that you could probably drive to the summit but might need a high clearance vehicle to get the last couple miles.  So after a bumpy ride along Forest Road #54, and mounting anxiety about how my tires were holding up going over the odd pointy rock, I parked my Honda Accord along the road and set off on foot down the road. My car is getting the opportunity to park in a lot of remote locations lately.

The road soon began a gentle descent. Over the long term, going steadily downhill is not compatible with reaching a summit, so I found myself becoming increasingly nervous.  Eventually I decided to leave the road and set off through the meadows towards what I assumed was the summit. This resulted in my becoming what we experienced hikers refer to as “lost”, due to a condition known as “stupidity”. However, by continually moving uphill I miraculously did find the summit. But not quickly. There are actually 2 summits, neither one of which seems to have a benchmark, so I ate my cheeseburger on the first one so I would have the strength to wander over to the second, a distance of maybe 50 feet.  At this point I thought I caught a glimpse of lightening in the distance, and this did not seem like the best place to be in a thunderstorm, so I took off down what I now realized was the road that I should have come up in the first place.

As I strolled down it became apparent that I could have easily driven to the top, as the road is really in pretty good shape. However, I instead managed to turn this into a 7 or 8 mile random wander. At least there were lots of deer gazing at me from various fields to keep me somewhat entertained.  Or maybe it was just the same 2 deer following me in amusement.  

Next, it was off down the road to Duchense Ridge.

Farquhar Knob. Hovland, MN

It's July 28th, and I've been able to see my breath all day.  There couldn't be a better way to warm up a brisk JULY day of Minnesota hiking than to consume a piping hot summit cheeseburger atop one of Cook County's abundant peaks.  

MountainMaiden and I set out on our backwoods quest, only to start the day 0/2.  Our first two summit attempts were stymied by an absolute maze of forest roads/atv trails coupled with a few 'KEEP OUT' signs laden with bullet holes.  Down but not out, we continued to search for a slump-buster.  

Solace was found on Farquhar Knob, where an old road climbed up and up, past a sign with bullet holes, then an old car with bullet holes, then another sign wi....you get it.  The road took us to the site of an old firetower, where our resident party pooper safety officer was quick to say no to the idea of climbing.  The results are the same no less, and another summit has been taken down in true Minnesota fashion. 

Failed to mention the beer growler, which may become more of a staple in my future hikes. 

Go big.